The role of the headteacher in creating and sustaining a culture that enhances school effectiveness: A case study on effective school leadership in Swaziland.

Dlamini, George Sipho
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The role of the headteacher as a key figure in the effective running of the school is a very controversial issue as shown by the literature over the past two decades or so. So far, there seems to be no consensus reached on this matter. The role played by a headteacher in creating an atmosphere aimed at enhancing school effectiveness is very critical As head of school, the principal serves as a role model for both students and teachers and he/she is responsible for creating an environment conducive to teaching and learning. The main thrust of this study was to investigate strategies that headteachers - in schools identified as operating effectively - employ in an endeavour to create a culture that promotes school effectiveness and efficiency. At the core of this research is establishing how the headteacher, as a school leader, ensures that both physical and human resources are aligned in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in all aspects of the school life. Four high schools (senior secondaiy schools) were identified as “effective schools” in Swaziland based on their academic performance in the O Level Cambridge Examinations over a period of five years. The research instruments used in carrying out this study were interview schedules,questionnaire and non-participant observation which were conducted with, headtea.chers, teachers and student s, respectively. Triangulation was essential for the validity and reliability of this study. This study is regarded as valid and reliable as there was strong correlation amongst most of the questions posed. The respondents participated w illingly in the study and showed tremendous understanding of the questions asked. The major deduction from this research is that the headteacher does play a crucial role in school effectiveness. Some of the qualities which the headteachers at the “effective” schools studied in Swaziland had in common were identified as willingness to share decision-making and the ability to implement decisions, approachability, effective communication, ensuring school and student discipline, good overseeing (being always on the lookout that all participants were actively involved in the day-to-day school activities), effective management of change, creating links with the surrounding community and ensuring that the school’s goals are achieved and most importantly, the ability to create an atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning.